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Herbal remedies investigated in chronic pruritus

While there is only limited evidence that herbal remedies have a clinical effect on chronic pruritus, it does appear that turmeric, peppermint oil and capsaicin and manual therapies such as massage may provide some improvement for these patients. That’s according to a new study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

The researchers noted that the basis for this study was the clinical observation that conventional pruritus therapies are not always successful in providing satisfactory relief for patients.

Lead author Mohammad Mahdi Parvisi, MD, PhD of the Molecular Dermatology Research Center of Shahid Faghihi Hospital in Shiraz, Iran and his colleagues reviewed clinical trials published between 2000 and 2019 that included herbal and complementary medicine as treatments for pruritus. They identified 17 total studies--11 articles related to herbal remedies such as turmeric, peppermint oil and capsaicin, while six articles evaluated manual therapies such as aromatherapy, massage and acupuncture in the treatment of chronic pruritus.

Their analysis of these studies indicated that some herbal remedies such as curcumin, peppermint, mint, capsaicin, and sweet almond, and manual therapies such as massage could alleviate and improve chronic pruritus in these patients. However, the effects of these interventions were not well-defined in the identified studies, and more research needs to be done.

The investigators noted the limitations of these studies they identified, which included factors such as the high cost of treatment, small sample size, a lack of control groups, and a lack of randomization and blinding of both the patient groups and reviewers.


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